Wasatch Cache National Forest

In partnership with: The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, Utah Department of Public Safety Division of Comprehensive Emergency Management,

Salt Lake County, and Utah State Parks:



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Avalanche ADVISORY

Sunday, November 28, 2004 7:30 Am         


Good morning, this is Drew Hardesty with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather information.  Today is Sunday, November 28th, 2004, and it’s 7:30 am. 


There are two upcoming benefits for our partners The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center.  On Tuesday, November 30th, Howie Garber will be giving an adventure sports and nature photography slide show at 7pm at the Ft. Douglas Post Theater on the U of U Campus.  There is a $10 donation requested.  Then on Thursday December 2nd, Brewvies will have their 4th annual Ski Bum Movie Night with two showings of TGR’s latest film “Soul Purpose” plus the film “Sinners”, first at 7pm and then at 9pm. 


Current Conditions: 

Storm totals across the range are 12-18” in the Logan, Ogden, and Provo mountains and 20-28” in Cottonwoods and along the Park City ridgeline.  Densities are 6-7%.  It’s still snowing in the central Wasatch, but that should taper off in the next hour or two.  Winds are out of the northwest in the 10-15mph range, with the highest peaks recording averages at 20-25 mph.  Temperatures plummeted with the passing of the cold front and are now in the single digits above 9000’. 


Avalanche Conditions:

Far fewer folks were out in the backcountry yesterday due to the heavy snowfall and poor visibility, but those that did reported pockety avalanching in the new snow as well as continued collapsing and remotely triggered avalanches up to 18” deep.  Also of interest was a southerly wind event for an hour or so in the morning that produced two naturals off one of the higher peaks along the LCC/AF ridgeline as well as two natural hard slab avalanches off the Park City ridgeline.  These were over two feet deep and up to 200’ wide.


Today’s problems will be three-fold:  first will be sluffing in the new light density snow on the steepest slopes that shouldn’t have a problem entraining a ton of snow.  Second are the newly formed wind slabs along the higher elevations from the northwesterly winds, and lastly are the inevitable problems we’ll have with avalanches breaking into the buried facet/crust layers formed in earlier November.  Avalanches stepping into these persistent weak layers will likely be larger than expected while possibly triggering other avalanches, and may pull out after the person is already out on the slab.  Unusual conditions like these require caution and humility.  The icing on the cake is for forecasted strong winds (30-40mph) out of the northeast by mid-to late afternoon.  If the winds verify, then I would expect a widespread natural and human triggered cycle.  Stay tuned, and watch for changing conditions.


Bottom Line:  There is a CONSIDERABLE danger on any steep slope with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.  Human triggered avalanches will be probable.  Mid and upper elevation northwest clockwise to southeast facing slopes are those favored for stepping into old snow.  If the winds pick up as expected, the danger will quickly rise to HIGH.


Mountain Weather:

We should see another hour or two of showery weather as the storm system moves to the east.  Ridgetop winds should be 15-25mph from the north today before increasing to strong out of the northeast.  8000’ highs will be in the low teens with 10,000’ temps in the low single digits.  Ridging moves in later tonight, with another disturbance possible about mid-week.


If you are getting out, drop us a line or an email with any reports or observations from the backcountry.  You can leave us a message at 524-5304 or 1 800-662-4140.  Email us at [email protected], or send a fax to 524-6301. 

The information in this advisory is from the US Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content.  This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. 

Bruce Tremper will update this advisory by 7:30 Monday morning, and thanks for calling.